The 2021/22 Liga 1 Indonesia season has its first COVID-postponed match after Madura United’s Matchweek 22 game against Persipura Jayapura was called off following the Laskar Sapeh Kerrab reporting TWENTY positive cases from their playing staff. The twenty players are currently undergoing self-isolation and with Madura United only having less than 14 players at their disposal, it left the league no choice but to postpone the Laskar Sapeh Kerrab‘s upcoming match against Persipura until further notice.
Mid-table Madura United were set to lock horns with strugglers Persipura at the Kompyang Sujana Stadium in Denpasar on Tuesday, however, the pre-match PCR tests showed that 24 people from the Laskar Sapeh Kerrab camp were COVID-positive. The 24 people included 20 players and 4 staff members, whose identities were not revealed.
This left Fabio Lefundes’ men with less than 14 players who are match-ready, forcing the Liga 1 authorities to call off the Persipura match for the time being.
Madura United manager Zainal Hudha Purnama expressed his shock at the revelation, especially considering that the club had been abiding by the established health protocols.
“We’ve followed strict health protocols but in the end, the virus managed to catch up with us,” said Zainal, as quoted from Bolasport, “We’ve done our best to ensure that Tuesday’s match would go ahead but ultimately we must accept that the league has decided to postpone it.”
The Madura United camp tried to be positive with this postponement, stating that they will take advantage of this unexpected break in league action to ensure that the players would have some time to recover themselves after an intense series of league matches in Bali. The club is also trying to spread the word that no matter how well one is adhering to the established health protocols, anyone could easily get COVID especially considering that the current Omicron variant is highly contagious.
Madura United’s cases added more to the ongoing Liga 1 outbreak, with the likes of Arema FC, Persija Jakarta, PSM Makassar, Persebaya Surabaya, and Persib Bandung already reporting COVID cases since last week, while both Persiraja Banda Aceh and PSS Sleman are reporting their own COVID cases early this week.
Only Madura United’s upcoming match against Persipura was postponed by the league, as Zainal revealed that the Laskar Sapeh Kerrab‘s Matchweek 23 game against Persela Lamongan is still on schedule. Madura United are set to take on the Laskar Joko Tingkir at the Ngurah Rai Stadium in downtown Denpasar on February 5th.